Kenya bets on investments in decent housing to drive urban renewal

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  NAIROBI, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will upscale investments in modern but affordable housing in order to hasten urban renewal in line with the country's Vision 2030 blueprint on growth and social transformation, officials said on Tuesday.

  Principal Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Aidah Munano told a forum in Nairobi that universal access to shelter in cities and mushrooming rural towns will be given priority during President Uhuru Kenyatta's second term in office.

  "We are talking to financiers, developers and other key players to stimulate investments in housing for low-income urban residents," Munano said. "This is part of sustainable urbanization agenda for the government."

  Kenyatta said during his inaugural address in November that his government will develop 200,000 housing units annually to address a shortfall occasioned by under-funding and policy gaps.

  Munano said that that plans to develop affordable shelter are in the pipeline in Kenya's major cities like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

  "The slum upgrading project that has been implemented in our big cities will extend to cover small towns. Our goal is to upscale initiatives that promote sustainable urbanization," Munano said.

  She said the government is addressing policy, legal and technological bottlenecks that have hampered development of decent shelter in cities.

  "We need to embrace new technology like prefabricated buildings in order to address housing shortage in Nairobi and other big cities. Land tenure is also being addressed to attract investments in real estate sector," Munano said.

  According to the World Bank, Kenya is urbanizing at an annual rate of 4 percent.

  Julius Muia, director general of Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, said strategic interventions are required to address challenges accompanying rapid urbanization like slums, crime and joblessness.

  "Kenya, like other lower-middle-income economies, is expected to urbanize very fast in the future, but we must channel investments in decent shelter, water, sanitation and power to improve the standard of living in our cities," Muia said.

  He said the government has identified six metropolitan regions where housing projects will be initiated in the near future. Enditem

[ Editor: Liu Jiaming ]
 

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